Health officials, Brown University researchers to gather drinking water data

By: News Staff

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and Brown University are partnering to gather data on the state’s drinking water.

Beginning in August, researchers will conduct free sampling at 35 at-risk water systems across the state to collect data on perfluorinated chemicals — man-made chemicals used in a variety of products and applications that are resistant to water, grease or stains.

These chemicals have been mostly phased out, but wells within a mile of facilities still using these chemicals will be targeted for testing.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid may linked to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses, RIDOH says. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued stricter guidelines for human exposure after new findings on their health affects.

Scientists have found traces of the chemicals in nearly all the blood samples of people they tested. About 20 percent of the exposure can come from a person’s drinking water, but most of that exposure comes from the products and foods that person consumes.

RIDOH says the new tests will help officials further assess the drinking water situation in Rhode Island. RIDOH will fund the testing with federal resources, and Brown University researchers will conduct the testing through September.

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